The Golden Age of the Music Industry is over. Now begins the Golden Age of the Independent Artist

Adam Samuels
2 min readSep 8, 2020

Back in July, Spotify released their Q2 financials, and with it reported that the number of artists in the top 10% of earners has increased to over 43,000. That’s roughly 15,000 more artists than the top 10% of earners in 2019. Similarly, AWAL reported last week that hundreds of their artists are earning 6 figures from streaming alone. This estimate has grown by 40% over the last year.

Indeed, these numbers are not abnormal — the investment firm Raine Group has published research which reports a 30% growth in the independent music sector every year for the last four years, making it the fastest growing segment in the music industry.

Still, all of this business comprises a mere 9% of the total music industry. That is A LOT of money left on the table.

Artists may fantasize about following in the footsteps of their greatest influences and pine for the creative surge of music from the 70’s or the 90’s — but the opportunity for independent artists to turn their art into a lucrative business has never been greater in the history of recorded music.

In order to take advantage, artists will need to redefine what it means to “make it”. They will need to think carefully about how they define success. They will need to abandon the acceptance they crave from the music industry and pioneer forward on their own. They will need to be motivated by their passion for the journey and forget about any glamor they may have imagined. This is an unpaved road with no compass or map. This is high risk, high reward.

This is the gold rush.

This is the golden age for independent artists — it’s in front of us, and it begins today.



Adam Samuels

Former artist manager turned product manager who writes about the intersection of technology music and culture.